Location: Multiple computers (Computer room /class set of laptops, etc.)
Skills focus: Reading
Game: Harry Quantum Episode 1: TV Go Home (point-and-click adventure)
Time: 20 minutes+ Learners will probably need 30-40 minutes to finish, but they can always finish the game at home (a great way of giving them reading homework without them thinking of it as homework!).
Harry Quantum is a game that requires little preparation to take advantage of. Tell the learners they are going to play the part of a private detective and take on a case which they will have to solve by finding clues – the game revolves around finding different objects, combining them and then using them at various points of the game.
The teacher should play at least part of the game before asking the learners to do so – this way you will be able to better help them if they get stuck. Play with the walkthrough and you will see how easy it is to play when you use these instructions. This way, the game acts as a reading comprehension.
The learners are introduced to the story and have to read to understand their objective (to find some missing TV programmes). As the game progresses, they will find it increasingly difficult to know what to do, which is where the walkthrough comes in.
The walkthrough that the game developers provide is a series of scenes labelled with vocabulary and written instructions that give just the right amount of information for the player to complete the puzzles, but not too much that the game becomes uninteresting.
The text is compressed (see screenshot from the game walkthrough, on the right) and the learners will have to understand the instructions if they want to continue.
If one pair of learners get ahead of the others, you can always ask them to stop and to help the others by telling the whole class what they have to do next to get to the same point as them. Otherwise, you can let them get on with it and you can go and help the ones who are trailing behind.
Post Play: As the game has a story to it, you can always ask the learners to recreate the story when they are back in class, and then to write their own version of it. To make it more interesting, you can have them write from different characters’ points of view.